Written by: Cassie Ash, AAE for Thorp School District
Let me start by saying Bill Cosby’s PR team was a complete and utter train wreck. I know most of us have heard all of the facts about his scandal. For those of you that haven’t heard of it or don’t know who Bill Cosby is, I’m here to tell you. Cosby is an American comedian, actor, and author who has recently undergone scrutiny of alleged rape, sexual battery, drug facilitated sexual assault, and child sexual abuse. The first accusation took place in the 1960’s and since there have been over 50 women who have come forward accusing him of these acts.
Over the past several years, Cosby’s team did little-to-nothing to prepare for the disaster to come in 2015. Bill Cosby, his manager, and PR team have been well aware that people have been coming forward accusing Cosby of these disgusting act. A real PR professional would’ve prepared for a crisis such as this. Clearly they have had zero crisis communication experience.
Bill Cosby’s crisis is an extreme example of a PR crisis gone wrong. It is important to learn from situations such as these when handling future disasters.
A few things to take away from Cosby’s PR team disaster:
- Prepare, prepare, prepare.
- Never think situations like these don’t happen.
- Over-prepare, over-prepare, OVER-PREPARE.
- Seriously, they happen.
- There is no such thing as over preparation.
- Must I go on?
- Always keep your story straight.
- This may be the most important mistake made on Cosby’s behalf. He originally had no comment, but later in the trial Cosby’s team came out with a statement saying, “these accusations are coming as a racist attack and are completely fabricated”….. total BS.
- If you choose to have ‘no comment’, on a situation like this… stick to that plan. But just know, the whole “no comment” remark is equivalent to writing “GUILTY” across your face.
In my opinion, Cosby and his team should have either denied the claim or admitted to it and sent out a formal apology. Sadly, the situation was managed damaged his reputation beyond repair.